Archive for November, 2009

King Says, Benji Says (Week 12)

November 29, 2009

Now that our Thanksgiving food hangovers have finally subsided, His Majesty and I are ready to “gobble” up some more tasty football match-ups for your entertainment. We’ve agreed on quite a bit lately, but this weekend’s set of games looks to be a perfect storm of analytical dissonance for the two of us. Sit back, grab a leftover turkey leg and enjoy…

Last Week:

Peter King (13-3)

Benji (13-3)

Brian (12-4)

Overall:

Peter King (111-49)

Benji (109-51)

Brian (99-62)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-9) at Atlanta Falcons (5-5)

King Says:

Feel free to call me on this prediction: Matt Ryan’s in the midst of a 1-4 run of losing. It’s the last time in his career he’ll be on such a run.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10

Benji Says:

As always, Brian and I will be sure to call you out on this prediction, a textbook King unwittingly fearless prognostication. I’m with you on the Falcons winning—the Buccaneers are terrible, after all—but I don’t feel that strongly about it.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Indianapolis Colts (10-0) at Houston Texans (5-5)

King Says:

And so the dream dies here, the dream of a perfect Indy season, at Reliant Stadium, where the Colts have had an increasingly difficult time winning. I understand the Colts are 14-1 against the Texans in their history together, but in the past three years, the Colts have been just one measly touchdown better than the Texans in Reliant. Composite 2006, ’07 and ’08 score when they meet in Houston: Colts, 85-78. One final factor: Houston has much to play for. Indy? Not so much. Because the Colts know their new coach, just like the last coach, will probably yank the starters as soon home-field in the AFC is clinched, rendering the run for perfection moot.

Prediction: Houston Texans 30, Indianapolis Colts 27

Benji Says:

What you forgot to mention in the midst of your analysis of the Colts/Texans games over the past three years, Your Majesty, is what the Texans have done in the last three weeks. Houston, since losing its second best offensive target (tight end Owen Daniels) for the year, has struggled to score in the red zone and has no running game to speak of. Is it possible that the Texans win this game? Yes, after all, the Colts made key mistakes when these two teams met three weeks ago and only won by a field goal. I just don’t think that picking the Colts to lose here is by any means a sure thing (as your analysis implies it is).

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 30, Houston Texans 23

Miami Dolphins (5-5) at Buffalo Bills (3-7)

King Says:

At various points in the past five years, Ricky Williams has been a) a new-age medical student; b) high on life; c) totally disinterested in football; d) the key to any playoff hopes the Dolphins have; or e) all of the above. Correct answer, obviously, is “e.”

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 27, Buffalo Bills 16

Benji Says:

The correct way to utilize writing space dedicated to football analysis is a) as a forum for discussing Starbucks cappuccino flavors; b) as a way to rehash off-the-field issues about a team’s star player that in no way pertain to the game at hand; c) by creating a silly set of multiple choice answers that are clearly (to the average NFL fan) all applicable and then telling us the answer anyway; or d) attempting to mock the original offender by using the same lame format because you don’t feel like analyzing what looks to be a terrible game.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 30, Buffalo Bills 16

Washington Redskins (3-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-4)

King Says:

Welcome to the DeSean and LeSean Show. Jackson and McCoy account for 21 points at the Linc, and fans get off Andy Reid’s back for one Sunday.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 30, Washington Redskins 16

Benji Says:

Why, Your Majesty, do you insist on making such specific stat predictions about Eagles players this season? The chances of you being wrong are so much higher than you being right, even if the point you’re making in your analysis (DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are the keys to the Eagles offense) ends up being correct. My take? The Washington defense, which has been solid all year, will probably put up another strong performance, but its offense simply cannot score…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 17, Washington Redskins 10

Chicago Bears (4-6) at Minnesota Vikings (9-1)

King Says:

The Vikings and Bears will meet twice in a 29-day span. Chicago will regret both encounters.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 33, Chicago Bears 27

Benji Says:

Maybe it’s just me, but usually when one brings in the clichéd “these two teams will meet twice in a ___ span” statement, I find that he/she is referring to a situation in which the two teams are playing each other twice in a short time period. A month is a long time between games…. The part about Chicago regretting both encounters, though? Probably true…

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Chicago Bears 20

Carolina Panthers (4-6) at New York Jets (4-6)

King Says:

How long’s it been since a team with two three-game losing streaks in one season is in wild-card contention? Ever? A win here could have the Jets a game out of the second wild card Sunday night with five games to play. Pretty fortunate for a team that’s 1-6 since September and playing like lost sheep in the pasture of life.

Prediction: New York Jets 23, Carolina Panthers 20

Benji Says:

Usually a team has to show some signs of life (as in maybe winning some games and not turning the ball over five times a contest?) before hyperbolic sportswriters begin to write about it mounting a comeback in the standings. The turnovers are what really have me shying away from taking the Jets here—rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez (once dubbed the “Sanchize” by His Majesty earlier this season) looks lost on the field and is making terrible decisions throwing the ball.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 23, New York Jets 17

Arizona Cardinals (7-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-6)

King Says:

Something’s got to give in Nashville. Titans have won four straight. Cards are 5-0 on the road. Vince Young’s on fire. Kurt Warner left last Sunday’s game with a ringing headache. It might be that simple — plus, I think Warner’s only going to have nine or 10 possession. That’s what the ball-control offense of the Chris Johnson-led Titans can do to you.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 27, Arizona Cardinals 20

Benji Says:

Something is going to give in Nashville—I believe it will be the last semblance of Arizona backup quarterback Matt Leinart’s self-confidence. The Cardinals aren’t going to take any chances with Warner with the NFC West all but sewn up…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 23, Arizona Cardinals 16

Cleveland Browns (1-9) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-3)

King Says:

In the sixth round last April, the Bengals had two picks. They selected cornerback Morgan Trent of Michigan and running back Bernard Scott from Abilene Christian. This weekend, they’ll be terrorizing Brady Quinn and rushing for 100 yards, respectively, in a rout of Cleveland.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 38, Cleveland Browns 10

Benji Says:

Enough with the super-specific stats, Your Majesty! You have a better chance of undermining your likely correct analysis than you do of picking exact stat-lines for players. Your point is valid, however—the Browns are really bad…

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 30, Cleveland Browns 13

Seattle Seahawks (3-7) at St. Louis Rams (1-9)

King Says:

If you sell this one out, Kevin Demoff, you’re executive of the century.

Prediction: St. Louis Rams 23, Seattle Seahawks 20

Benji Says:

Come on, there have certainly been worse games to pick on than this one—the Rams did play the Browns after all.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 27, St. Louis Rams 20

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4) at San Francisco 49ers (4-6)

King Says:

Aubrayo Franklin and Isaac Sapoaga over Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD held to 43 total yards, and the 49ers advance to 5-6. They’ve got a wild-card pulse.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 17, Jacksonville Jaguars 15

Benji Says:

First of all, the 49ers run defense may be good (ranked second in the league, allowing 3.5 yards per carry) but is it really good enough to completely shut down Maurice Jones-Drew, who has rushed for 463 yards over the last four weeks? Second of all, for the last time, quit it with the exact predictions on players’ stats! Trying to guess a player’s exact stat-line is the gambling equivalent of placing all of your money on a single number in roulette…

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars 17, San Francisco 49ers 15

Kansas City Chiefs (3-7) at San Diego Chargers (7-3)

King Says:

Oh, how I wanted to pick the Chiefs to make it three in a row. I would have, if I thought they could cover the basketball team known as the San Diego receiver group. Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Kassim Osgood, Antonio Gates ??? it’s an NBA team, a bunch of 6-foot-5 athletes with great hands.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 31, Kansas City Chiefs 21

Benji Says:

I guess it has been at least three weeks since you made a comment about the height advantage that the Chargers’ receivers have over an opposing team’s defensive backs…still, though, isn’t there something else you could talk about with San Diego other than its tall receivers and its perennial Pro Bowl tight end (Antonio Gates) being overlooked (see Brian’s post from last week)? How about this: the Chargers have a major talent advantage over the Chiefs and should win this game easily unless they don’t show up to play (which is always a possibility)…

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 34, Kansas City Chiefs 20

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

King Says:

Hines Ward, James Harrison and James Farrior have circled the wagons this week in Pittsburgh. Last year, when the veterans drew a line in the sand and said Baltimore’s not crossing over, the Steelers beat Baltimore by 3, 4 and 9 points. I respect Baltimore resiliency, but I like Pittsburgh’s players better, even in the killer Maryland venue. The one thing I know about this game is that midway through the third quarter, after Ray Lewis knocks Rashard Mendenhall into next week, Dick Ebersol’s going to be in the NBC truck, smiling, and thinking, “Thank God I didn’t flex out of this game.”

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 22, Baltimore Ravens 17

Benji Says:

Wow, King. Way to mention five players involved in this game without making any reference to the key player whose presence (or lack thereof) will likely decide the outcome of this game: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. If Big Ben plays, the Steelers have a good chance to win, but I highly doubt the team (despite suggesting otherwise during the week) will let him play a week after sustaining a concussion. If he doesn’t play (and I believe he won’t), second year player Dennis Dixon (Pittsburgh’s only healthy quarterback) will struggle mightily against the opportunistic Baltimore defense.

Baltimore Ravens 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 6

New England Patriots (7-3) at New Orleans Saints (10-0)

King Says:

Slightly alarming trend: Pats have been outscored in the second half of their three losses 47-10. More alarming trend Monday night: Drew Brees has about 11 favorite receivers. There can’t be too much hype for this game. It’s going to be really good. Gregg Williams is going to have to be really good to put his beat-up secondary in position to make enough plays against the great Brady to win.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 37, New England Patriots 33

Benji Says:

How about this for a “slightly alarming trend:” The Saints have only played one team (the Eagles) with fewer than five losses so far this season. They also almost lost to both the Rams and Buccaneers. Yes, the Saints’ offense is great (ranked number one in the league in case everyone in the media hasn’t already mentioned it)—but are they really an elite team? Right now they are the NFL equivalent of the undefeated college football team at Boise State. Here’s a great chance for them to prove me wrong—the Patriots are right behind them in nearly every offensive category and have, at the least, proven that they are capable of beating the also-undefeated Colts. If the Saints win this one, I will have to start taking them seriously…

Prediction: New England Patriots 30, New Orleans Saints 27

King Says, Benji Says (Thanksgiving Edition)

November 26, 2009

After compiling matching 13-pick weeks, His Majesty and I have a lot to be thankful for. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we have decided to put aside our differences (and believe me, we disagree on a lot this week) and enjoy a long, lazy afternoon of food, wine and terrible football match-ups together. Taking a page out of our main man Barack’s book, we have decided to forego the turkey this year and let a couple more of the bastardized birds live to see another holiday season. Fittingly, King is replacing his turkey with another “porkier” meat, while I’m “settling” for a date with a hot, single, vegetarian Pilgrim. I’ve moved on, Thirteen/Cuddy—deal with it!

King and Benji Say:

Packers over Lions

Cowboys over Raiders

Giants over Broncos

Not Without My Tight End!

November 22, 2009

Peter King let out another one (so to speak). Check out this gem from this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback:

When we talk about the great tight ends, we too often forget Antonio Gates.

Now I’m not sure whom King is referring to, because I sure have not forgotten that Antonio Gates is a good tight end. He has made the Pro Bowl five straight times; he is a two time All-Pro tight end; and, since 2004, only Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, and Terrell Owens (all wide receivers) have more receiving touchdowns. I’m pretty sure everyone I know is well aware that Gates is one of the league’s premiere tight ends and has been for quite some time. Furthermore, he is owned in 100 percent of ESPN’s fantasy football leagues and is consistently one of the first tight ends drafted. Writers and fans alike are well aware of this “under the radar” star. But of course Peter King forgets to mention him when writing about the great tight ends…or does he? Here’s what King had to say TWO WEEKS AGO:

f. Owen Daniels tearing his ACL is such a shame. He was battling Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates for top tight end in the AFC. Houston will miss him. Matt Schaub trusted him to run perfect routes.

I guess King forgot that he didn’t forget to include Gates in the “great tight end” discussion. Man, I wish I could not forget to forget King…

King Says, Benji Says (Week 11)

November 21, 2009

Are His Majesty and I two of a kind? Brothers from the same mother? Two peas in a pod? Or did I just get back late from a week of Americorps orientation (and debauchery) in Philadelphia and decide to copy and paste his picks as my own? You decide…

Last Week:

Peter King (9-6)

Benji (10-5)

Brian (12-3)

Overall:

Peter King (98-46)

Benji (96-48)

Brian (87-58)


King and King 2.0 Say:

Panthers over Dolphins (ooops!)

Cowboys over Redskins

Lions over Browns

Packers over 49ers

Steelers over Chiefs

Vikings over Seahawks

Giants over Falcons

Saints over Buccaneers

Jaguars over Bills

Colts over Ravens

Cardinals over Rams

Chargers over Broncos

Bengals over Raiders

Patriots over Jets

Eagles over Bears

Titans over Texans

King Says, Benji Says (Week 10)

November 15, 2009

BreakingTheCurseOf13InStyle

Townspeople rejoice! The Curse of 13 (games played) has finally been lifted. I may not have figured out a way to get a date with any of the actresses from House, but I did break The King’s spell by correctly picking Pittsburgh to win on Monday Night Football. I don’t know about you all, but I am celebrating in style in my new digs. With a Vermonster in hand, and my former enemy (His Majesty) at my side, I am ready to tackle the 14 Sunday/Monday match-ups…

Last Week:

Peter King (8-5)

Benji (9-4)

Brian (7-7)

Overall:

Peter King (89-40)

Benji (86-43)

Brian (75-55)


Dallas Cowboys (6-2) at Green Bay Packers (4-4)

King Says:

If I were the FOX director doing this game, I’d have a WadeCam (because Wade Phillips is always good for about eight agonized expressions during a game), and I’d dedicate one to Jerry Jones, seething, in the final two minutes. I don’t love Green Bay, but I like them here because they’ve got to look at this game as a last-gasp playoff hope.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30, Dallas Cowboys 27

Benji Says:

Since I’m in a good mood (The King and I signed a peace treaty and swore on a pair of Vermonsters), I’ll respectfully agree with His Majesty here. I like the way the Cowboys are playing on offense and defense right now, but if the Packers don’t win here, their season is pretty much over…

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30, Dallas Cowboys 27

Buffalo Bills (3-5) at Tennessee Titans (2-6)

King Says:

Biggest fallacy on the NFL planet this morning: Vince Young wouldn’t be playing unless Bud Adams did an interview when the Titans were 0-6 and said he thought it was time for Young to play. Every little barb helped, but this is a decision Jeff Fisher was on the verge of making either that week or the next.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 25, Buffalo Bills 17

Benji Says:

Regardless of who made the decision to start Vince Young and when the decision was made, the Titans are playing infinitely better with Young as the starting quarterback. The Bills’ offense is completely inept, and their defense is allowing a league worst 5.1 yards per carry to opposing running backs. Look for another solid game from Young and a dominant performance from running back Chris Johnson…

Prediction: Tennessee Titans 30, Buffalo Bills 13

Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) at Oakland Raiders (2-6)

King Says:

You’ve got a choice, viewers of Kansas City. Your PBS affiliate is showing “A Walk in the Sun,” a movie about the randomness of war set in WWII, at 3 p.m. local time. In other words, there might be better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Prediction: Oakland Raiders 24, Kansas City Chiefs 11

Benji Says:

I’m not sure who should feel more insulted: PBS viewers or Kansas City and Oakland football fans? We get it, Your Majesty—you want to play up the clichéd storyline that both of these teams are really bad. I guess there isn’t really that much else to talk about here though…

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 20, Oakland Raiders 13

New Orleans Saints (8-0) at St. Louis Rams (1-7)

King Says:

There’s an X factor here. I wonder how Sean Payton keeps his team focused these next two weeks, with Rams and Bucs on the road preceding the big Monday nighter with New England.

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 33, St. Louis Rams 10

Benji Says:

The Saints won’t need much “focus” against a team whose only win was a nail-biter against the hapless Lions…

Prediction: New Orleans Saints 35, St. Louis Rams 10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7) at Miami Dolphins (3-5)

King Says:

I’m not sure whether it was Bill Parcells or Tony Sparano. But I can bet you a Gloria Estefan CD that one of those men, sometime in the past three or four days, said something to Chad Henne along the lines of: “Son, if you’re going to complete 54 percent, like you have over the past three games, and take as many sacks as you’ve been taking, and not get us into the end zone, you’ll never make it in this league.” Lucky for Henne, he’s got the Bucs coming to Fishland on Sunday.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

Benji Says:

I’ll see your Gloria Estefan CD and raise you a Britney Spears one that neither Bill Parcells or Tony Sparano said anything of the sort to Henne—for a young quarterback who has started fewer than half a season’s worth of games, I think he has done quite well for himself. The Dolphins may be 3-5 but their schedule has been extremely tough thus far and I still think they have an outside shot at a playoff berth if they play at the same level they have shown in their first eight games. Oh, as for this game? Enjoy your lone win, Tampa—you won’t get another one for a long while…

Prediction: Miami Dolphins 28, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

Detroit Lions (1-7) at Minnesota Vikings (7-1)

King Says:

Brett Favre really needed the bye, and the banged-up Adrian Peterson was pretty happy to have it too. On the other side of the ball, I hear the Lions are battling rumors that the two big stars, Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, are sniping at each other. Calvin, it’s nothing personal; the kid’s just not all there yet. And he has thrown 49 balls your way in five starts when you’ve been on the field together. What’s the gripe? That’s 2.5 balls per quarter.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Detroit Lions 14

Benji Says:

As far as obscure stats go…why break down the number of balls thrown to Johnson per quarter? What additional information does that statistic provide for the reader? Maybe you would be better off, say, telling us what percentage of Stafford’s total passes are directed toward Johnson? Ah, what does it matter? The Lions stink…I just wish you wouldn’t waste words in this situation that could be better used to explain your other more noteworthy picks…

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 30, Detroit Lions 16

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) at New York Jets (4-4)

King Says:

Rex Ryan, getting whiplash watching Maurice Jones-Drew sprint by him a couple of times, will turn to an assistant and say, “You have no idea how much I miss Leon Washington.”

Prediction: New York Jets 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Benji Says:

Correct me if I’m wrong: one would assume that if a high-profile sportswriter spent an entire paragraph of analysis describing the dominance of a player on one team and a notable injury on the other team, that the former would be the team he picked to win, no? Hmmmm…well, I’m taking the Jets (the home team) because I don’t trust the Jaguars, who have shown themselves to be the most inconsistent team in the league at the halfway point of the season…

Prediction: New York Jets 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 17

Seattle Seahawks (3-5) at Arizona Cardinals (5-3)

Arizona 28, Seattle 21. “Hey, hey, come on now,” Kurt Warner said to me when I began a conversation the other day with, “Well, it’s been feast or famine for you.” Five picks, then five touchdowns. He’s right-two of the five picks were fluke jobs. The will of Jim Mora might make this closer, but a month ago, in Seattle, the Cards won by 24.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 28, Seattle Seahawks 21

Benji Says:

Way to kill the suspense by giving us another copy of your predicted score before your analysis. Also, last time I checked, other than the last two weeks, Warner hasn’t been feast or famine—he’s been consistently a bit above average. I feel like a broken record here, but…it’s all irrelevant, because the Seahawks stink…

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 38, Seattle Seahawks 16

Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

King Says:

I find it amazing that the Bengals are 4-0 in AFC North games, 3-0 against the Big Two (Ravens, Steelers) and if they lose this game, they’ll be a game out of first in the division. This is a much bigger game for Pittsburgh than Cincinnati, because a loss by the Steelers would put them two games out, in effect (one plus the head-to-head tiebreaker), and the Bengals have Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit and Kansas City as four of their final seven games. Sense or urgency, plus playing at home, plus a good shot to stone Cedric Benson ??? that’s why I’m a Steeler man Sunday.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 13

Benji Says:

I too find it amazing that the Bengals are undefeated in the NFC North, but I’m not nearly as convinced that the Steelers have a “good chance to stone Cedric Benson.” What is your justification for that statement, Your Majesty? Benson has run well against every team he’s faced this season, including the Steelers in Pittsburgh when he rushed for 76 yards on 16 carries. That being said, I do think the Steelers will find a way to pull this one out…the Bengals can’t be this good, can they?

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 17

Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-3)

King Says:

Philip Rivers has gotten much love for his clutch throw to beat the Giants, and rightfully so. But the San Diego defense is finally well in the team’s three-game win streak, allowing 43 total points and only 13 of 42 third-down conversions. And Shawne Merriman’s awake. He sacked Eli Manning to end the game at the Meadowlands. If I were Donovan McNabb I’d feel better if I got Brian Westbrook back, to help with blitz pickup in this one.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers 26, Philadelphia Eagles 13

Benji Says:

As long as the San Diego Chargers continue to start LaDanian Tomlinson’s reanimated corpse, I can’t pick them to beat two desperate teams in back to back weeks. Philip Rivers is a great quarterback, but he can only do so much when his running game is generating three yards per carry. The Eagles have the better, more balanced team and are getting starting running back Brian Westbrook back for “blitz pick-up” and much more…

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 28, San Diego Chargers 20

Denver Broncos (6-2) at Washington Redskins (2-6)

King Says:

Why is it this close? Because the Redskins are exactly 1.4 total yards per game worse than Pittsburgh on defense. Washington’s going to give Kyle Orton multiple headaches Sunday.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 17, Washington Redskins 15

Benji Says:

Perhaps the “multiple headaches” comment was in poor taste, considering the fact that two top tier players (Washington’s Clinton Portis and Philadelphia’s Brian Westbrook) have left with concussions in Redskins games over the last three weeks? That being said, I agree with your prediction, Your Majesty, if not your analysis. Denver’s offense is suspect and Washington’s defense is surprisingly good. This one will be close…

Prediction: Denver Broncos 17, Washington Redskins 15

Atlanta Falcons (5-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-5)

King Says:

If I’m Jake Delhomme, I think I’d rather be running in the open field with three Falcons bearing down on me that taking my chances running out of bounds into the middle of a bunch of Falcons. That Atlanta sideline is a dangerous place to be.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 23, Carolina Panthers 20

Benji Says:

Why explain your prediction for a tight game between divisional foes when you can make silly jokes about a sideline altercation from a week ago? My take (I’m sorry that King doesn’t feel comfortable sharing his) is that the Falcons are in trouble here. The Panthers are running all over everyone right now and Atlanta’s defense is allowing 4.5 yards per carry. Also, quarterback Matt Ryan has been making some curious decisions as of late.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers 28, Atlanta Falcons 20

Baltimore Ravens (4-4) at Cleveland Browns (1-7)

King Says:

Somewhere, Mike Holmgren will be watching.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 33, Cleveland Browns 9

Benji Says:

Somewhere, Benji Thurber will be watching…House.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 30, Cleveland Browns 6

King Says, Benji Says (Week 10 Early Edition)

November 12, 2009

OneOfUsIsJustABitMoreExcitedAboutBeingUpEarly

As you probably inferred from our photo shoot, I am ecstatic about the early return of Thursday Night Football. Who wouldn’t be excited about having to submit an early pick/watch a Thursday night game every week for the rest of the year? Certainly not the NFL, because an extra televised game on its own network would in no way help to fill the league’s coffers with additional revenue…

Chicago Bears (4-4) at San Francisco 49ers (3-5)

King Says:

If the 49ers are losing because they added a really good player, Michael Crabtree, to the lineup out of nowhere, then I would say the 49ers were a house made of toothpicks. Which is to say: I’m not buying they’re 0-3 with Crabtree because of Crabtree.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 23, Chicago Bears 13

Benji Says:

Exhibit A: A textbook example of an over-caffeinated football monarch’s propensity for inventing inane arguments solely for the sake of disproving them. No one…I repeat, NO ONE has implied that the 49ers’ recent struggles have anything to do with rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s insertion into the line-up. In fact, pretty much every sportswriter I’ve read has suggested that San Francisco’s passing game is better because he is a part of it. Does that mean that the 49ers are good? No, because their defense (particularly the secondary) has played at a much lower level than it did earlier in the year, and their quarterbacks (be it Shaun Hill or Alex Smith) have struggled to take care of the ball. The Bears look like a team going in the wrong direction though—they didn’t put up any sort of fight at all against Arizona until the Cardinals had already stopped playing. Extended garbage time points may count in the box score, but they are irrelevant to the discerning football observer…

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 30, Chicago Bears 17

King Says, Benji Says (Week 9)

November 6, 2009

KingStoleMyPicksAndMyLunch

Bad news, folks—not only has His Majesty used his magical powers (and infinite football wisdom) to extend the Halloween scheduling (13 games) another week, he also took advantage of a costume partying-induced lapse in security to break into my football studio and steal my picks. Technically there’s no proof, as King cleverly disguised himself as a creepy character from a competing fast food chain to throw the police off his trail, but the evidence can be found here on the picking page. All of his picks are the same as mine! Luckily, I had yet to prepare my Monday Night Football analysis before the break-in, so we do differ on the final game. I’ll spare myself the indignity of having to agree with His Majesty’s picks 12 times while bemoaning his flawed reasoning and simply give you our predicted winners and our thoughts on the Monday night game. If any of you have any additional information about the suspect pictured above, please call the America’s Most Wanted hotline at 1-800-CRIME-88…in the meantime, I will continue the packing/moving process to my new apartment in an understandably undisclosed location…

 

Last Week:

Peter King (11-2)

Benji (9-4)

Brian (11-2)

Overall:

Peter King (81-35)

Benji (77-39)

Brian (68-48)


Washington Redskins (2-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-3)

Pick: Falcons

Arizona Cardinals (4-3) at Chicago Bears (4-3)

Pick: Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)

Pick: Ravens

Houston Texans (5-3) at Indianapolis Colts (7-0)

Pick: Colts

Miami Dolphins (3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2)

Pick: Patriots

Green Bay Packers (4-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7)

Pick: Packers

Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)

Pick: Jaguars

Carolina Panthers (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (7-0)

Pick: Saints

San Diego Chargers (4-3) at New York Giants (5-3)

Pick: Chargers

Tennessee Titans (1-6) at San Francisco 49ers (3-4)

Pick: 49ers

Detroit Lions (1-6) at Seattle Seahawks (2-5)

Pick: Seahawks

Dallas Cowboys (5-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-2)

Pick: Eagles


Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) at Denver Broncos (6-1)

King Says:

Anyone notice last week, in the Denver-Baltimore game, how defensive coordinator Mike Nolan calls blitzes that allow his defenders to come unblocked? Happened at least three times that I saw, once with Brian Dawkins coming from the right that was one of those fear-for-Joe-Flacco’s-safety moments. I mention that because if I’m Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, I’m thinking I’ve got to keep a back or tight end, or both, in or around the backfield consistently on pass plays, with heads on a swivel. That could make the Steelers screen game more effective, but it could also limit what Ben Roethlisberger can do downfield too.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 13

Benji Says:

Come on, Your Majesty, you stole my notes for the other games—all you had to do was come up with semi-intelligent analysis for a single pick! Why should the Steelers be concerned with the Broncos’ blitz-happy tendencies on defense last week? The Ravens scored 30 points on Denver last week and quarterback Joe Flacco completed 20 of 25 passes. Flacco did take two sacks but clearly Denver’s defensive strategy was not working—what makes you think a 6-1 team would carry over its game plan from its lone blowout loss? Even with the adjustments that the Broncos will assuredly make in defensive strategy, I think the Steelers pose a difficult match-up for a good but not great team that feasted on an easy opening schedule. The emergence of running back Rashard Mendenhall has restored balance to the offense and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is playing better than ever. Furthermore, Denver’s offense looked terrible last week and now faces a much better Pittsburgh defense.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Denver Broncos 17

Dude, Where’s My Counter?

November 3, 2009

DudeWheresMyCounter

Get ready for another trip into the self-defeating mind of our favorite doofusy monarch. His latest endeavor is an attempt to remove the word “counterargument” from the English language (as it is spoken/written on the pigskin football continent). In today’s MMQB Tuesday Edition, Peter King responds to an emailer who questions his contention that Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is the best defensive player in football. The original email reads as follows:

“How in the same article can you make the claim that there is no better defensive player in football than Jared Allen and also say that Aaron Rodgers takes too many sacks? There is no doubt that he is an impact player, but when 7.5 of his 10.5 sacks came against Rodgers, he hasn’t had that much of a game-changing impact in the other Vikings games.”

King begins his “response” by acknowledging the validity of the emailer’s argument (“Good point”), but instead of responding, he chooses to reiterate his original stance and flaunt his credentials: “In my job at NBC and in covering one of the Minnesota’s  game [sic], I’ve seen at least 50 percent of the Vikings’ defensive snaps this year, and he’s the best defensive player I’ve seen.” Loosely translated from King-speak to English: “I’m smarter than you, pesky emailer, and I know more about football. I work for NBC, dammit! Leave me alone so I can drink my Starbucks latte and watch more Favre highlights.”

The emailer brings up two problems he/she has with King’s stance on Jared Allen: one, over 70% of Allen’s sacks have come in two games against the same team; two, according to King’s own logic (he admits that Rodgers takes too many sacks), Allen’s sack total has to be considered somewhat inflated. King has two thought-provoking points in front of him, but chooses to ignore both of them. Consider the rest of his response: “Even if Rodgers threw the ball away on two of those plays, or three, that’s Allen-related impact resulting in incomplete passes. His impact is about more than sacks, too.” The logical way for King to respond to the emailer’s argument would be by bringing in an example of Allen’s impact against a different opponent; instead, he chooses to stand by his original stance that Allen’s play against the Packers best exemplifies his worth. Since he is so knowledgeable in the field of Vikings game film (having watched “at least 50 percent of [their] snaps” and all), one would expect him to have an insightful, well-researched point to make about how opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks are impacted by Allen; instead, he leaves us with one of those clichéd blanket statements normally reserved for bad sports announcers struggling for a talking point: “His impact is about more than sacks.” Great, but what is the impact? Working hard, having intangibles, giving 110 percent? Your Majesty, don’t print emails that challenge your logic if you’re not up to the challenge of constructing a counterargument…